The cabinet of the sixth administration was announced last night, and President Cyril Ramaphosa kept to the expectation – to a degree, but not completely – that he would cull those found to be unsuitable, or that were surplus to requirements. “We have made progress in examining the size and structure of the state, and will complete this work by the end of this administration,” he said during his State of the Nation Address earlier this year.

During former president Jacob Zuma’s tenure the size of the cabinet increased markedly, from 50 members under Thabo Mbeki and a lean 47 under Kgalema Motlanthe, to an overstuffed 73 by the time Zuma left office.

There are now 28 ministers, eight fewer than the previous cabinet of 36, and 34 deputy ministers. The reduction in size was an exercise in efficiency, Ramaphosa said. “To promote greater coherence, better co-ordination and improved efficiency, we have combined a number of portfolios, thereby reducing the number of ministers from 36 to 28.”

Half of the new cabinet members are women, and some ministries have two deputies – these are ministries that were combined. The Department of Trade and Industry joined that of Economic Development; Science and Technology joined with Higher Education and Training; and Arts and Culture joined with Sports and Recreation. Meanwhile, Environmental Affairs joined with Forestry and Fisheries, Agriculture combined with Land Reform and Rural Development, and Human Settlements joined with Water and Sanitation. The departments of energy and mineral resources also combined.

“We have also decided to add responsibility for infrastructure to the public works portfolio and to add responsibility for employment to the labour portfolio,” Ramaphosa said.

David Mabuza, after a delay while he met with the ANC’s integrity commission, remains deputy president. The committee had identified 22 party members as potentially unsuitable for public office – including Mabuza and Gwede Mantashe.

South Africans will note the absence in the new cabinet of controversial figures such as Bathabile Dlamini and Nomvula Mokonyane. However, some questionable choices still remain.

MinistryMinisterDeputy minister
Basic Education Angie Motshekga Dr Regina Mhaule
Higher Education, Science and Technology Dr Blade Nzimande Buti Manamela
Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Thoko Didiza Sdumo Dlamini
Mcebisi Skwatsha
Environment, Forestry and FisheriesBarbara CreecyMaggie Sotyu
Mineral Resources and EnergyGwede Mantashe Bavelile Hlongwa
CommunicationsStella Ndabeni-Abrahams Pinky Kekana
Cooperative Governance and Traditional AffairsDr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma Parks Tau
Obed Bapela
Defence and Military VeteransNosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula Thabang Makwetla
Employment and LabourThulas Nxesi Boitumelo Moloi
FinanceTito Mboweni Dr David Masondo
HealthDr Zwelini Mkhize Dr Joe Phaahla
Home AffairsDr Aaron Motsoaledi Njabulo Nzuza
Human Settlements, Water and SanitationLindiwe Sisulu Pam Tshwete
David Mahlobo
International Relations and CooperationDr Naledi Pandor Alvin Botes
Candith Mashego-Dlamini
Justice and Correctional ServicesRonald Lamola John Jeffery
Inkosi Phathekile Holomisa
PoliceGeneral Bheki Cele Cassel Mathale
Ministry in the PresidencyJackson Mthembu Thembi Siweya
Ministry in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with DisabilitiesMaite Nkoana-Mashabane Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize
Public EnterprisesPravin Gordhan Phumulo Masualle
Public Service and AdministrationSenzo Mchunu Sindy Chikunga
Public Works and InfrastructurePatricia De Lille Noxolo Kiviet
Small Business DevelopmentKhumbudzo Ntshavheni Rosemary Capa
Social DevelopmentLindiwe Zulu Henrietta Bogopane-Zulu
Sports, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa Nocawe Mafu
State SecurityAyanda Dlodlo Zizi Kodwa
TourismNkhensani Kubayi-Ngubane Fish Mahlalela
Trade and IndustryEbrahim Patel Fikile Majola
Nomalungelo Gina
TransportFikile Mbalula Dikeledi Magadzi